MacMall (, an authorized reseller of Apple products and a brand of a PC Mall, says the grand opening event for its new retail store located at  329 W. Grand, Chicago, Illinois will be held on Saturday, March 31. The event will feature a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting, drawings for over $7,000 in technology products, and more. 
The first 500 people to visit the store will be entered into a drawing to win one of over 20 technology products including a MacBook Air.  Additional drawings will be held throughout the day featuring a Wacom Intuos5 tablet, five Apple TVs, two iPod touch players, three iPod nanos, an HP Officejet printer and more. The store will open at 9 a.m. and the MacBook Air drawing will be held at 10 a.m., immediately after the ribbon cutting.

The first 100 people in line will receive a free limited edition T-shirt, while the first 200 who purchase will receive a free gift bag. The first 1,000 customers will receive a limited edition MacMall 2-in-1 Stylus. Product demonstrations and special discounts will occur throughout the day.
In addition to the grand opening on March 31, the new Chicago store will feature a special $7,000 drawing for businesses. From March 26 through March 30, three high demand technology products will be given away each day to businesses, with Wacom Intuos5 tablets, HP Folio notebooks, TouchSmart PCs and Slate tablets, HP Top Shot printers and more featured in the five day drawing.

“We are excited to enter the Chicago market with our broad offering of leading edge technology products and on-site repair services,” says Dan DeVries, president of MacMall. “Customers will find that we offer a wider selection and better prices than many of the competitors in our space.”

The new store will be MacMall’s first in the Chicago area. The company also has three stores in Southern California. MacMall has operated an online Apple Superstore since 1995.

DeVries says that though the MacMall online store has done extremely well, there are some advantages that can’t be beat by a brick-and-mortar store. One is immediate gratification.

“If you need a product right now, a retail store is the only way to go,” DeVries told “MacNews/MacTech.” “Touching and feeling a product can only be done in a brick and mortar location.”

Another advantage is services. If there’s a problem with your Mac or iPad, if you need extra memory, if you want more storage — needs like these are best served by a retail establishment, DeVries says. It’s also easier for small businesses to deal with retail than online. And working with small businesses is one of MacMall’s specialities.

“Obviously, we can’t put everything in a retail store that we can online, but we have over 1,000 items in our Chicago store,” DeVries says. As for future expansion, the company is looking at other locations, including more retail expansion in Southern California and Chicago.
Is expanding a retail store initiative risky with the proliferation of Apple retail stores? Not at all, says DeVries. In fact, he says Apple encourages it and works with MacMall.

“We stock a much broader group of accessories with better pricing,” DeVries says. “Apple stores concentrate mainly on consumers. We have a focus on small businesses that Apple stores don’t. Also, with the Genius Bar — which is a great idea — you have to schedule an appointment and there’s often a line. At our MacMall stores, we have a no-appointment service. We can also integrate with the Windows world and products from companies such as HP and Samsung, something Apple doesn’t do in their stores. We view our retail stores as complementary to Apple’s.”

Since the opening of the online store, DeVries says MacMall has obviously seen the scope of Apple products grow. For example, the new iPad and Apple TV are “flying off the shelf,” though MacMall has a big inventory of both. The company has also seen an expansion of its services. For example, there’s Mall on Call to help consumers out and small businesses integrate products. Plus, the Mac side keeps getting bigger and bigger.

“In ’95 the Mac was more of a niche product for creative professionals,” DeVries says. “Today it doesn’t matter whether it’s a large company, mid-size company, small business or consumer, the Mac is a great choice. And it used to be that people thought they needed a PC because of the available of software or due to pricing. However, now all major software is available on the Mac. And when it comes to price and ease-of-use, the total cost of ownership for a Mac is actually lower than a PC.”

Finally, the MacMall stores conduct many seminars for both consumers and businesses — at least one a day. Topics range from “iPads for Business” to “How to use Your iPad” to “Global Device Management” to Photoshop training.

“We find the seminars to be very popular,” says DeVries.